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An Example Mapping of the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering onto an Existing Accredited Program

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering

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Page Count


Page Numbers

25.158.1 - 25.158.19

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Paper Authors


David L. Wells North Dakota State University

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David L. Wells has been professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at North Dakota State University since January 2000. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in process engineering and production engineering systems design for conventional manufacturing, electronics assembly, biomedical products, and micro-manufacturing. His instruction is characterized by heavy reliance upon project-based, design-centric learning. Course projects are drawn from real industrial applications with real industrial constraints, often interactive with a corporate sponsor. Students are challenged to design effective and efficient part manufacturing methods and complete production systems for commercial and industrial products. The common theme for students is mastering process and system design procedures that are applicable to any product in any industry. Graduates have been successful in manufacturing enterprises that produce virtually every type of product, literally, from spacecraft to foodstuffs. Wells also leads innovation teams in two engineering venues: product realization and transforming laboratory research into commercial products. Wells’ active research lies in orthopedics, micro-assembly, micro-machining, circuit board process engineering, printed electronics, applications of RFID technologies, and manufacturing engineering pedagogy. Through his research, Wells has supervised the completion of twelve graduate degrees in the past seven years. His publication history includes nearly seventy print publications and over forty invited presentations. He has addressed professional audiences in Ukraine, Japan, India, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Canada, as well as in many United States venues. For many years, he has been active in the national leadership of Society of Manufacturing Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, and ABET. Over the past 28 years, he has been a central figure in the design, development, and articulation of curricula for educating manufacturing engineers in the United States and in selected off-shore venues. He has also been an occasional contributor to Surface Mount Technology Association and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Prior to joining NDSU, Wells held manufacturing engineering and management positions in energy, aerospace, commercial sheet metal, and automotive industries for 26 years. He also held a faculty position at University of Cincinnati for 15 years, including 13 years as Chair of a department of some 500 students. He has also served as an Academic Dean in an experimental Manufacturing Engineering Education program at Focus: HOPE (Detroit, Mich.) and as Chair of the IME Department at NDSU. Wells is a certified Manufacturing Engineer and earned a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in engineering management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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An Example Mapping of the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering onto an Existing Accredited ProgramAbstract: The four pillars of Manufacturing Engineering have been devised to providedirection to undergraduate curricula. The headings of the pillars are taken from the ABETprogram criteria for “Manufacturing and Similarly Named Engineering Programs”. The fifthprogram criterion requires that instruction include laboratory exercises with substantiveintellectual content. This paper will map the four-plus-one pillars construct onto an existingaccredited program in Manufacturing Engineering. The results of this comparison will beused as part of the documentation offered for a forthcoming re-accreditation evaluation.The overlay of the four pillars highlights some needed improvements, and directions forimplementation of those refinements are discussed. The method applied here suggests moregeneral application for identifying areas of needed continuous improvement inundergraduate Manufacturing Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Technologyprograms.126 words

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